On November 26, EXARC sent in a project application to Brussels. The idea is to develop a documentation and digitization strategy for open-air museums, to the benefit of the museums themselves and their visitors. The project goes by the name “Retold Stories - Sustaining Cultural Memories in Open-Air Museums”. EXARC and Stadtmuseum Berlin are organising a conference by the same theme in Berlin in March 2020.
The Creative Europe Project RETOLD has six partners: EXARC (lead partner), Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (ES), Complexul National Muzeal ASTRA (RO), AÖZA gGMBH (DE), Nüwa Digital Media Content Production Studios Limited (IE) and Stiftung Stadtmuseum Berlin (DE). The budget of the project is over 300,000 EUR.
The RETOLD project will ensure that open-air museums can continue telling important cultural heritage stories to a diverse public by developing a standardized workflow to collect, digitize, and publish data on buildings, crafts, and traditions. These data will be stored in an open access format so that museum professionals, researchers, and the public can access and use them freely. This will ensure better quality research through more comparable data, the preservation of tacit cultural heritage knowledge for the future, and opportunities for more engaging and impactful story-telling about cultural heritage to the general public.
Open-air museums are vast repositories of cultural heritage data, which are currently located in archival records, photos, video, and the minds of museum staff and volunteers. There is a real risk that without a standardized process for capturing and storing this data, it will be lost forever. Open-air museums are process and action-oriented, rather than artefact oriented. Therefore, the CIDOC Conceptual Reference Model, that revolves around events and processes (as opposed to objects), will be used. The standardized workflows created by this project will be shared in an open access form on multiple platforms, and open-air museums will be actively encouraged to adopt them.
The RETOLD project will thus create open access knowledge transfer to a new generation of museum professionals, researchers, and the public. This represents an important opportunity for open-air museums to fully leverage the new possibilities of digital technologies, social media and online communities in widely disseminating cultural heritage data. The end result will be enhanced cooperation between historical and archaeological open-air museums and other cultural heritage specialists, a strengthening of the research and interpretation framework of open-air museums, and ultimately the long-term sustainability of open-air museums as guardians of cultural heritage.
We hope to hear by June 2020 if the RETOLD project application is successful.